CLOSE AND ACCEPT

Terrence Higgins Trust uses cookies to improve your experience of our websites. For more information or to change the use of cookies, please click here.

Molluscum

How common is molluscum?

Molluscum contagiosum is one of the least common infections. Molluscum can affect anyone, but it is more common if you have HIV.

What causes molluscum?

Molluscum is caused by a virus that affects the skin and the lining of the inside of the arse and cock.

What are the symptoms of molluscum?

A couple of weeks or up to six months after getting infected, pale-coloured, painless, soft, pearl-shaped growths the size of a freckle appear:

  • on the skin
  • inside the arse
  • on the cock
  • on the face.

How is molluscum passed on?

Molluscum is passed on by touching the growths. This can happen during sex but molluscum can also be passed on through general touching, using other people’s towels or at swimming pools.

How is molluscum prevented?

You can stop molluscum being passed on by:

  • not having sex until your molluscum has been treated, if it’s on a part of your body people touch during sex
  • not sharing towels and flannels if one of you has molluscum
  • not scratching as this can spread the molluscum around your skin
  • using an electric razor if you have molluscum on your face as wet shaving can spread them.

How is molluscum treated?

Some doctors prefer to wait and see if the molluscum will clear up on its own after a few months. If they do decide to treat it:

  • the growths can be frozen or scraped off by a doctor
  • chemicals can be painted on
  • a cream is sometimes used.

Treatment can take a lot of visits to the clinic, especially if you have a lot of growths.

Last review: 25/09/2014
Next review: 31/09/2017